Colleen’s Story

Site created on February 18, 2019

On January 24, 2019, Colleen had a seizure while at work and was taken to Shore Health in Easton, MD. She had no history of seizures and after an overnight stay in the hospital and a series of tests, it was discovered that Colleen has a 3 cm mass on the right side of her brain. Colleen was released and has been staying in her dear friends  carriage house in Easton, MD. Colleen has an excellent team of doctors on her side and on February 7th, a craniotomy was performed by Dr. Kahlid Kurtom, one of the top Neurosurgeons on the East Coast. The surgery was to take 4-5 hours and after 2 hours, Dr. Kurtom saw that the mass was resting on the motor cortex, making the removal of the mass tenuous as the potential for causing paralysis was simply too risky.

Since then, Colleen has been regaining her strength and recovering from the surgery and on Feb. 18th had the staples removed from the surgery site. Her spirit is typically Colleen....brave, positive, questioning, and eager to get to the bottom of what is going on! It has certainly not been without the expected challenges, but she is surrounded by her awesome husband Jim, family, and her many friends who are chomping at the bit to do anything she needs. Her dogs, Pablo & Pearl are staying at their house in Cambridge and Jim's Dad, has been helping with them when Jim is either at work or with Colleen. Maureen, Colleen's Mom, came from South Carolina post surgery and stayed with her for a week and a huge team of Colleen's friends & family have kept Colleen company during the day.

Moving forward, the plan is to use Caring Bridge as a tool to keep her web of friends & family updated on her progress and needs as they arise. Her care team, which includes Dr. Kurtom, a Neurologist, an Oncologist, a Radiologist, etc. met on Friday, Feb. 22 to discuss the pathology of the tumor and the plan moving forward. At that time, it was determined that Colleen will have another craniotomy on March 4th to remove as much of the tumor as Dr. Kurtom can. Once Colleen has recovered from her 2nd surgery, she will get radiation treatments in Easton.

Many friends have been  sitting with Colleen while Jim is at work as they are still concerned about her having seizures. She has not had one since Feb. 11 and the medications that she is on seem to be doing their job! Our goal with this page is to share updates and to limit the number of well-intended and loving messages/inquiries/texts that she is receiving. PLEASE keep the positive love and encouragement coming though!! Colleen is so grateful for the love, well-wishes, and funny videos you all are sending.

As Colleen's journey unfolds, there will be a variety of needs that she will have and we may use Caring Bridge as a tool to set up meal delivery, transportation, and other needs as they become apparent. For now, please keep her in your thoughts and take a moment to send a message through this page. She is so grateful for the continued love, support, fabulous meals, visits, flowers, notes, and all around goodness you are sending her way!!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Colleen Brighton

Hello Friends!
It has been a while since you have heard from me/us and in my mind it's a good thing.  Today marks 1 year since the day I was talking to my lovely friend Mrs. Reyes at school and I told her I felt like I was going to pass out. As I slid down the hallway wall at school and began to have my second focal seizure, I never would have imagined where it would have taken me today.  I was rushed to the hospital and after several tests I was told I had a mass on my brain. This 3x3x3 mass, basically the size of a grape, sent my world into a tailspin. I am unable to count the amount of MRI's, CAT scans, and tests I have had.  That little grape "Phil" caused me to have over 10 seizures before, during, and after the 2 craniotomies that I endured.  I went through 6 weeks of radiation and I am currently knee deep in what is called a PCV chemotherapy regime.  Each cycle is around 56 days and I have 2 more to go.  Shew when I said tailspin above, I meant it!

Instead of talking about the countless side effects from all the meds and how awful I can feel on any given day I would like to take a few lines to express the bright side of things.  

1.)I am a helluva lot stronger than I ever thought I could be.
2.)Jim has been my biggest cheerleader, comedian, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, and has helped me in so many countless ways and I love him more every day for it. 
He's had it tough so make sure when you see him, give him a giant pat on the back for being the badass that he is.
3.)I am so lucky to have the support system of friends and family by my side lifting me up along this rocky road to make this journey a lot smoother than I thought it could ever be.
4.) Pet therapy is a real thing so a big shout out needs to be given to Pearl and Pablo ;)

These next few months are going to kick my butt.  I am beginning to put a plan in place to work on healing inside and out so I can beat the odds of this diagnosis.  I am also planning on raising awareness about brain cancer and specifically the type that I have been diagnosed with, an Anaplastic Astrocytoma. 

Thank you all for your support!  We couldn't have done any of this without YOU.
Stay tuned,
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